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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 62, 27 March 1996

From: OMRI-L <omri-l@ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu>

Open Media Research Institute Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] NATO WANTS MUJAHEDEEN OUT OF BOSNIA.

  • [2] ARE RUMP YUGOSLAV TROOPS STILL IN BOSNIA?

  • [3] SERBS, CROATS REACH AGREEMENT ON PRISONER EXCHANGE.

  • [4] KARADZIC TO RUN IN REPUBLIKA SRPSKA ELECTIONS?

  • [5] SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADER CRITICIZED BY STATE-RUN MEDIA.

  • [6] NEW RADICALS IN MONTENEGRIN LEGISLATURE.

  • [7] CROATIAN JOURNALISTS PROTEST DRAFT PRESS LAW.

  • [8] U.S. REASSURES ROMANIA ABOUT NATO MEMBERSHIP.

  • [9] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT WARNS OF MASSIVE SOCIAL UNREST.

  • [10] BULGARIAN CHURCH ABOUT TO SPLIT?

  • [11] BULGARIAN ROUNDUP.

  • [12] ALBANIAN SOCIALIST LEADER FACES ARREST.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 62, Part II, 27 March 1996

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] NATO WANTS MUJAHEDEEN OUT OF BOSNIA.

    President Alija Izetbegovic has said in an interview with Focus and in a letter to U.S. senators that only about 50-60 Iranian and other foreign Islamic fighters remain in Bosnia. He added that they have taken Bosnian citizenship and become civilians. IFOR disagrees, however, and says that "small groups" of mujahedeen are still in place and are mainly involved in training, the International Herald Tribune reported on 27 March. NATO and the U.S. State Department called on the Bosnian government to send all foreign forces home "immediately." According to the Dayton agreement, they were supposed to have gone nearly two months ago. -- Patrick Moore

    [2] ARE RUMP YUGOSLAV TROOPS STILL IN BOSNIA?

    Dayton's ban on foreign troopsincludes those from neighboring republics of the former Yugoslavia as well. But OMRI's special correspondent in Sarajevo reported on 26 March that journalists claim that rump Yugoslav troops are controlling sites of alleged mass graves in eastern Bosnia. IFOR spokesman Simon Haselock was asked by the journalists to comment, but he would neither deny their story nor say whether the presence of Serbian troops represented a violation of Dayton. OMRI's correspondent added that Russian IFOR soldiers have been intimidating some 4,000 Muslims near Zvornik in disputed territory and telling them to leave. The Russians also allegedly told the residents to take down the Bosnian flag, which they called "Muslim." -- Patrick Moore

    [3] SERBS, CROATS REACH AGREEMENT ON PRISONER EXCHANGE.

    Bosnian Serb parliament speaker Momcilo Krajisnik and Bosnian Croat leader Kresimir Zubak have agreed to free all of each other's prisoners. Zubak said in Pale that the deal involves the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, the Republika Srpska, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and will be carried out in two days, Nasa Borba reported on 27 March. Also in Pale, Bosnian Serb spokesmen told UN human rights envoy Elisabeth Rehn that the fate of 2,000 Bosnian Serbs remains unclear in the wake of last fall's allied offensive in western Bosnia. In Dobrinja, three young Muslim males were arrested on 19 March by Serbs, Dnevni avaz said on 27 March. And in Grbavica, federal police arrested a Bosnian Serb interpreter working for the UN police about ten days ago, AFP reported on 27 March. They did not give any reason for holding the interpreter. -- Patrick Moore

    [4] KARADZIC TO RUN IN REPUBLIKA SRPSKA ELECTIONS?

    Republika Srpska VicePresident Nikola Koljevic on 26 March said Bosnian Serb civilian leader Radovan Karadzic may run in the upcoming elections in the Republika Srpska, Greek and Western media reported. During a visit to the Greek city of Thessaloniki, Koljevic said the Dayton accords bar Karadzic from holding office but do not rule out his candidacy. He added that the Bosnian Serb civilian leadership is focusing its efforts on Karadzic's candidacy, despite the fact that he has been indicted as a war criminal by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. "External pressures" will not result in division among the Bosnian Serb leadership, Koljevic added. He said he will consider running for the Republika Srpska presidency if asked to do so, but he "will not even think about it if I am to be Mr. Karadzic's opponent." -- Stefan Krause

    [5] SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADER CRITICIZED BY STATE-RUN MEDIA.

    Vuk Draskovic, leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), has become the latest target of a state-run media campaign. Draskovic recently sent a letter to the Foreign Ministries of the U.S., Russia, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy alleging that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is consolidating "a one-party dictatorship" and is waging a campaign of repression (see OMRI Daily Digest, 15 March 1995). Vecernji novosti on 26 March dubbed Draskovic a common criminal and called on prosecutors to file charges "to protect the country from attacks by foreign powers called for [by Draskovic]." State-run Borba said the letter was "a nail in the coffin of Draskovic's political ambitions." Nasa Borba on 27 March quotes Draskovic saying the media campaign was not unexpected. -- Stan Markotich

    [6] NEW RADICALS IN MONTENEGRIN LEGISLATURE.

    Eight members of the Serbian Radical Party of Montenegro (SRSCG) took their places in the Montenegrin legislature for the first time on 25 March. Last spring, members of the Belgrade-based Serbian Radical Party (SRS) who were loyal to Vojislav Seselj, flamboyant leader of the SRS and an accused war criminal, had their mandates revoked. Seselj continues to advocate establishing a centralized Serbian state and removing any traces of autonomy for Montenegro. The new crop of Radicals are entering the legislature on the understanding that "there will be no return to 'Seseljism,'" Montena-fax reported on 25 March. -- Stan Markotich

    [7] CROATIAN JOURNALISTS PROTEST DRAFT PRESS LAW.

    The Croatian Journalists Society has called the press law submitted to the parliament a threat to free speech and democracy, Novi list reported on 27 March. The measure, which was introduced by the governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ), would allow government officials to sue journalists who offend them for libel. It also includes a vague provision allowing journalists to be punished for reporting "state secrets." The HDZ has near total control of the electronic media, and the independent mass-circulation press is limited to one daily and two weeklies. -- Patrick Moore

    [8] U.S. REASSURES ROMANIA ABOUT NATO MEMBERSHIP. U.S.

    Ambassador in Bucharest Alfred Moses on 26 March told journalists that there will be "no ranking, no handicapping" for East European countries applying for NATO membership, Radio Bucharest reported. Moses was seeking to clarify U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher's speech in Prague last week, which was widely interpreted in Bucharest as suggesting that Romania may be relegated to a second tier for NATO membership. Meanwhile, Adrian Nastase, executive chairman of the ruling Party for Social Democracy in Romania, said that Romanians should continue to "act as if there were no differences between us and the others." -- Dan Ionescu

    [9] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT WARNS OF MASSIVE SOCIAL UNREST.

    Mircea Snegur, meeting with leaders of the Moldovan National Trade Union Federation on 26 March, said that if the government fails to undertake urgent measures to resolve outstanding social problems, Moldova will likely suffer massive social unrest, Moldovan agencies reported. Snegur said that only 31% of the 26,400 registered unemployed receive unemployment benefits. Real wages are decreasing, and wage arrears now total 2.6 billion lei ($572 million). Snegur had issued a decree in early February urging the government to pay pension, wage, and other arrears by 31 March. Meanwhile, trade union leader Ion Godonoga said the government has failed to honor its agreements with the trade unions. -- Matyas Szabo

    [10] BULGARIAN CHURCH ABOUT TO SPLIT?

    The Bulgarian Orthodox Church is aboutto officially split, Bulgarian dailies reported on 27 March. The church split unofficially in 1992 when the government's Department for Ecclesiastical Issues declared Patriarch Maksim's election in 1971 invalid and appointed a new synod under Metropolit Pimen. Maksim and the old synod never recognized this decision, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate backed them. Pimen's associates on 26 March said they will call a national council in June and form a second Orthodox church. They also decided to break off talks with Maksim and his supporters and to ask for registration as a separate church. They expect to be recognized by other Orthodox churches. -- Stefan Krause

    [11] BULGARIAN ROUNDUP.

    Prime Minister Zhan Videnov and Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Svetoslav Shivarov on 26 March said there is no grain shortage and that mills and silos are filled with flour and grain, 24 chasa reported. But millers claim that there is grain for one week only. Videnov accused private bakeries in Sofia of trying to find excuses for raising bread prices. In other news, Petyo Blaskov--co-owner of the 168 Hours Press Group, which publishes Bulgaria's biggest daily, 24 chasa--will run for president in the upcoming elections, LEFF reported on 26 March. He has the support of the New Bulgaria party. -- Stefan Krause

    [12] ALBANIAN SOCIALIST LEADER FACES ARREST.

    Secretary-General of the Albanian Socialist Party Gramoz Ruci has been charged with ordering the killing of Albanians fleeing the country in the first half of 1991 and four supporters of democratic reform in April 1991, Albanian media reported. Ruci was interior minister from February to June 1991. He is also charged with the destruction of secret police files. The Prosecutor's Office has asked the parliament to lift his immunity before it dissolves itself on 3 April, international agencies reported on 26 March. The charges are made under the so-called "Genocide Law" passed in September 1995. -- Fabian Schmidt

    This material was reprinted with permission of the Open Media Research Institute, a nonprofit organization with research offices in Prague, Czech Republic.
    For more information on OMRI publications please write to info@omri.cz

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